Where Do Christmas Songs Begin?
Christmas lights, another fight, tears we cry, a flood… I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams… It’ll be lonely this christmas without you to hold…
It’s considered the most wonderful time of the year… and yet some of own best known Christmas time tunes are laced with lost love and family feuds.
For me, it seems these songs sum up the strange melancholy that Christmas evokes. It is a time of celebration for the Christian Church - of God made Man among us, to save us. The hope of heaven in a tiny mewling baby is an image which perfectly illustrates the pain and the power of the Incarnation. The fear of Mary and Joseph; unmarried teenage parents charged with raising the Son of God, the wanted baby King and the shocked shepherds. The nativity narrative is far from the glossy christmas card image we’re so accustomed to.
There is a darkness amidst the sparkles.
I can’t help but think, that it’s sometimes easier to find Jesus in the darkness. Blinded by the bright lights and glare of the glitter - it’s easier to miss the baby Saviour. But when the light seems more mocking than merry, it can be easier to see the wonder of an almighty God coming to stay in a stable.
The Christmas story tells us that God came to be among us. God came to feel all the pain we feel, and to be among us, right at the heart of where it hurts. John 1 tells us that “God became flesh and made his dwelling among us”. In the middle of the pain - the Christmas story tells us that we’re not alone.
The sad christmas songs we know and love are about contrast, they set stories of pain and loss against a jingling bell and attempt to make both the singer and the listener feel less alone.
The good news is, that we don’t need the sad songs for that. Jesus came down into the darkness so that we might know that we’re not alone in our pain. He came to be a light brighter than any candle.
“Born our darkness to dispel, God with us - Immanuel”